It’s February and it’s finally raining. For most of November, December and January we warmed our winter bodies under the bright, inviting sunlight of an extended high pressure and the skies stayed blue – little rain fell and there was hardly any wind. It meant for a beautiful, extended dry autumn.
Today the saturated ground holds water from the weekend rainstorm. The rain-slicked grass of the lawn sucks at my feet, and water pools around the soles of my boots as I walk. Patches of bright, vibrant green moss have sprung up along the edge of the gravel road that separates our yard from the orchard, holding fast to rock and mud. Early afternoon and the moss still feels wet to my fingertips, wreathed in a border of dead leaves – some crisp and thin, others still waterlogged.
The air is a mass of sound: a high-pitched chatter of wintering sparrows, robins, and goldfinches punctuated by the crackling baritone of croaking frogs. Rushing water from the storm has worked deep canyons into the road, slicing through grey-blue gravel to reveal a deeper layer of blonde clay tinged with a burnt-orange hue.
A rare sighting – the color red. A forgotten apple wedged in the trunk of a tree. Wet pendants of persimmons dangling from leafless branches. Rosehips round and full clustered on the tops of thorny rose bush stalks.
The orchards look strangely inverted. Trees sleep, branches devoid of leaves, while beneath them bright green winter grass spreads to all corners of my vision, contained only by wide swaths of muddy road. Elsewhere, in ankle-deep pools and shallow puddles of gathered rainwater, the scent of the weight of all that has fallen reflects itself.